Chapel: This talk has resounding message
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Warren Stewart Jr. didn’t just resonate with the audience Monday morning in his first visit to Chapel in Grand Canyon University Arena. He turned the place upside down.
In powerful, eloquent oratory that stirred memories of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, the pastor of Church of the Remnant in south Phoenix had the crowd whooping and clapping and shouting as he rat-a-tat-tatted sentences and paced back and forth and banged his lecture stand and clapped his hands and swung his arms and pointed his index finger for emphasis. He didn’t just invite the listeners to get involved, he demanded it.
“Let’s give Jesus some praise in this place!” he began, eliciting mild applause. “Come on, you can do better than that — I said let’s give Jesus some praise in this place! (Applause gets louder.) You can do way better than that — I said let’s give Jesus, our Lord and Savior, our King, some praise in this place! (The crowd roars.) Come on, you can give it to Him! Hallelujah! Listen, I grew up Baptist, so you’ve got to make some noise!”
Stewart certainly made some while delivering his message. To properly transcribe the passion of his prose, it would take an industrial-size supply of exclamation points.
Referring to Acts 17:1-6, in which the apostles were accused by their enemies of turning the world “upside down,” Stewart noted that “Jesus caused a disturbance in the culture,” and “It’s the Word of God that turns the world upside down.” We should do the same, he said.
“We were called not to fit in but to stand out,” he said.
Stewart warned that preaching the Gospel is illegal in some countries and could face a similar fate in the United States if Christians don’t stand their ground. He then launched into a series of “I believe” statements, just as King kept repeating “I have a dream” toward the end of his landmark speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial on that hot summer day in 1963.
His voice rising with each “I believe you will turn (racism, politics, education, etc.) upside down” statement, Stewart closed with, “When they see you coming, they should be afraid. When you get up in the morning, the devil (should say), ‘Oh man, they got up again.’”
Echoing the “Making a Difference” theme of Chapel this semester, Stewart said, “Jesus didn’t just die for you to sit in church. He died for you to make a difference in the world. He didn’t die for you to study about Him. He died for you to preach and live about Him.”
It was fire-and-brimstone at its very best, with a touch of hip-hop and an appropriate amount of humor. While reading the Bible verse and changing the words a bit, Stewart joked, “I read the Bible a little different. Sometimes hip-hop messes me up.”
But there was no confusing his main point.
“You are called to make a disturbance in the culture,” he said. “You are called to turn the world upside down.”
Message received. Loud and clear.
● For a replay of Stewart’s talk, click here.
● For a slideshow from Monday, click here.
● Next week’s Chapel speaker: Terry Crist, City of Grace
Contact Rick Vacek at 602-639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.